New Guidance on How to Integrate a Disability Perspective into Military Manuals

Our new Military Briefing: Persons with Disabilities and Armed Conflict provides guidance to the armed forces on how to integrate a disability perspective into military manuals and the training of their militaries.

Authored by Alice Priddy, it translates the findings of a larger academic research into practical advice and avenues to incorporate this issue into military operations.

‘Today, most publicly available military manuals do not integrate a disability perspective. Ensuring that they do so is a first and essential step to introduce militaries to the topic and ultimately ensure that armed forces do protect and assist persons with disabilities during armed conflicts’ explains Professor Gloria Gaggioli, Director of the Geneva Academy.

‘We are confident that this will help military legal advisers, military personnel in charge of developing training manuals and training modules for the armed forces, as well as those in charge of designing and conducting operations on the ground to integrate this much-needed and mandatory disability perspective’ she adds.

Introducing Militaries to the Topic and Showing What is at Stake

As shown by our larger academic research, key international humanitarian law (IHL) provisions that serve to minimize the impact of armed conflict – such as the proportionality assessment and advanced effective warnings – are not being applied in a disability-inclusive manner, resulting in persons with disabilities being killed, seriously injured or left behind as families flee armed attacks.

This Military Briefing introduces militaries to this topic by exploring the meaning of disability and the incorrect understandings that must be avoided. It provides a brief overview of the impact of armed conflict on persons with disabilities before moving to the protections afforded to persons with disabilities under IHL.

‘In doing so, we notably focused on effective advance warnings and the treatment of detainees with disabilities to demonstrate what is at stake when militaries do not take a disability-inclusive approach, and how equality in the application of IHL can be achieved’ underlines Professor Gaggioli

El Fasher: Salahdin Abdurrahman Khissan, a 17-years-old blind student, walks with his stick at the Sudanese Association for Disabled People in El Fasher, North Darfur.

Concrete Recommendations

The paper offers a number of concrete recommendations on specific areas, showing the possibility to integrate a disability perspective into military manuals and military operations.

For example, it details the meaning of ‘accessible warnings’ to persons in the vicinity of armed attacks, and sets our feasible measures regarding the treatment of prisoners of war with disability, in line with the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD).

This Military Briefing was discussed at an online expert seminar co-organized with the International Committee of the Red Cross and Diakonia in March 2021. Insights, in particular from military stakeholders, provided avenues to continue this practice-oriented work via outreach events and targeted discussions with military legal advisers.

MORE ON THIS THEMATIC AREA

World Map News

Three Papers Map Contentious Issues Related to the Application of International Law to Military Cyber Operations

22 June 2021

Three new Working Papers – researched by the Geneva Academy in the context of our joint project with the ICRC on the digitalization of armed conflict – address some of the main issues of contention concerning the application of international law to military cyber operations.

Read more

Women in bright headscarves walk along Mogadishu street News

RULAC Classifies the Armed Violence between al-Shabab and the Islamic State in Somalia as a Non-International Armed Conflict

23 March 2021

Our RULAC online portal provides a detailed analysis and legal classification of this conflict, including information about parties and applicable international law.

Read more

SRSG Martin Kobler addresses a ceremony in Goma, North Kivu province, to mark the destruction of weapons and ammunitions on 20 November 2013. Event

Expert Consultation on the Role of Business in Transitional Justice Contexts

23 September 2021, 13:00-15:00

This online consultation aims at providing inputs to the UN Working Group on Business and Human Rights for a guidance note on the role of business in transitional justice contexts.

Read more

Logo of the Atlas Network Event

Women's Perspectives on a Career in International Law

29 September 2021, 12:30-14:00

In this online event co-organized with the ATLAS Network, prominent women in international law will share their experience and advice through an interactive discussion.

Read more

Syria, destroyed building and ambulance Short Course

Basic Principles of International Humanitarian Law

30 September - 12 November 2021

This short course, which can be followed in Geneva or online, examines the sources of international humanitarian law (IHL). It provides an introduction to the key principles and terminology of IHL.

Read more

An aerial view of camps for internally displaced persons (IDPs), which have appeared following latest attacks by M23 rebels and other armed groups in the North Kivu region of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). Short Course

International Refugee Law

9 March - 13 April 2022

This short course, which can be followed in Geneva or online, analyses the main international and regional norms governing the international protection of refugees. It notably examines the sources of international refugee law, including the 1951 Geneva Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees, and their interaction with human rights law and international humanitarian law.

Read more

A session of the UN Human Rights Committtee at Palais Wilson Project

Implementing International Humanitarian Law Through Human Rights Mechanisms

Started in April 2019

Resulting from traditional legal research and informal interviews with experts, the project aims at examining how – if at all possible – IHL could be more systematically, appropriately and correctly dealt with by the human rights mechanisms emanating from the Charter of the United Nations, as well from universal and regional treaties.

Read more

On the screen, on the screen is Peter Maurer, President of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), briefing the Security Council on the 70th Anniversary of Geneva Conventions. Project

International Humanitarian Law and the United Nations Security Council

Started in January 2020

Read more

Cover Page of the publication Publication

The Work of the Committee on Enforced Disappearances

published on August 2021

Maria Clara Galvis Patiño

Read more

Cover page of the book Publication

War

published on July 2021

Andrew Clapham

Read more